George Lucas Quit the Internet After ‘The Phantom Menace’ Opened
Star Wars: Episode I — The Phantom Menace opened in theaters in May of 1999. Despite what you might think about that movie now, when it opened the reception wasn’t completely negative. Roger Ebert gave it 3½ stars saying it was “an astonishing achievement in imaginative filmmaking.” The public consensus remained mostly enthusiastic at first as fans tried desperately to talk themselves into the fact that The Phantom Menace was a good movie. As the months ticked on though, and as the internet began to blossom, most Star Wars fans could no longer convince themselves, or others, that it wasn’t a good movie. More over, that it was actually a pretty terrible movie. And that’s when George Lucas decided to get the f— off the internet for good.
Lucas, who is receiving a Kennedy Center Honor this weekend, spoke to the Washington Post and revealed that since the year 2000, not-so-coincidentally just a few months after The Phantom Menace opened in theaters, he has completely and totally avoided the internet. No Google, no Facebook, no Twitter, not even e-mail. This is a man who is about to have an honor bestowed on him by the President of the United States of America in part for his contributions to technology and he’s still using snail mail.
Though Lucas is not quoted as giving a hard and fast reason for his aversion to the world wide web, the article does hint that it’s “so he doesn’t have to read the worst about himself and his movies.” Smart move, George.
Lucas still maintains a healthy public presence (he’s yet to devolve into some Howard Hughes-ian recluse), so in theory people could come up to him and tell him how stupid midichlorians are or how much they hate Jar-Jar, but the director says that doesn’t happen. Fans, even the ones who hate The Phantom Menace, are always very friendly, probably because they couldn’t bear to say the things they say online directly to his face.
If you must get some closure on one of Lucas’ most controversial decisions, he did explain why he decided to make Greedo shoot first:
Han Solo was going to marry Leia, and you look back and say, ‘Should he be a cold-blooded killer?’ Because I was thinking mythologically — should he be a cowboy, should he be John Wayne? And I said, ‘Yeah, he should be John Wayne.’ And when you’re John Wayne, you don’t shoot people [first] — you let them have the first shot. It’s a mythological reality that we hope our society pays attention to.
Now that we know that George Lucas isn’t reading this, it’s safe to say that’s stupid. Greedo was going to shoot Han, they both knew it and Han wasn’t going to sit there and wait to get blasted. Defending yourself, even if it means acting first, doesn’t make you a cold-blooded killer. Han wasn’t going around murdering people.
But, now that Star Wars is behind him and he holds no responsibility for the new movie and is back to just being a fan, perhaps Lucas will return to the internet to post angry comments ripping J.J. Abrams like any good fan.